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The Tennessee Holocaust Commission

The mission of the Tennessee Holocaust Commission is to educate Tennesseeans about the history of the Holocaust, seeking to remind citizens that prejudice, hatred, and violence, as manifested in the Holocaust and other genocides, leads to the destruction of a humane society.


The Tennessee Holocaust Commission was created in 1984 by an act of the State Legislature. It is one of the oldest and most recognized Commissions in the United States. Its purpose is to educate and commemorate about the Holocaust. Its twelve members are appointed by the Governor. In 1996, new legislation recreated the Commission to recognize its primary role as education and to create a parallel not-for profit body. This agency's Commissioners function as part of the Commission as a whole.

The Commission provides a variety of educational services and opportunities. It creates and implements resources, workshops, conferences, exhibits, learning and in-service seminars as well as publications for the educational and general community. It has facilitated primary educator learning opportunities for study in Washington, DC and Europe. Each year, the Commission supports annual Days of Remembrance across the state including an observance on the Capitol grounds.

In 2009, the THC celebrated its 25th Anniversary. During these years it has benefited from the contributions of many outstanding Commissioners and Legislators including its second Chair, Dr. Beverly A. Asbury.

As third Chair, Felicia Anchor has brought international recognition to the Commission by representing the US at the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust conference and previewing the Commission’s acclaimed ,”Living On” exhibit at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland and the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Visitor Center. The Commission has participated in the publication of two books; “The Holocaust and Other Genocides: History,Representation,Ethics” and “ Living On : Portraits of Tennessee Survivors and Liberators”.

A State appropriation matched, in part, by funds raised privately provides financial support for programming. Donations are tax deductible.

Tennessee Holocaust Memorial

Under the leadership of Bernard Bernstein, the Commission’s first Chair, a living Memorial to the survivors and martyrs of the Holocaust was established in 1986 on the grounds of the State Capitol in Nashville. It is the only such Memorial on a State Capitol site. The Memorial consists of six cedars, native to Tennessee. The six trees represent the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. A stone marker, near the trees bears the following inscription:

“We Must Never Forget”
The people of Tennessee dedicate these six trees as a living memorial to the six million innocent Jewish Victims of the Nazi Holocaust (1939-1945).
Let all generations remember…so that a Holocaust shall never again occur.

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